Movie Review: “Don’t Worry Darling”


Credit: Alyssa Ao

WSPN’s staff reporter, Hallie Luo reviews the new highly-anticipated movie, “Don’t Worry Darling.”

Hallie Luo

Warning: this review contains spoilers

The highly-anticipated thriller, “Don’t Worry Darling,” was released on Friday, Sept. 23, drawing in many movie-goers with its wide range of castings. The movie featured Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Harry Styles and many other well-known actors and actresses.

To start, the trailer of the film left me intrigued, since it barely revealed much of anything. It only showed small clips of the most outrageous scenes from the movie, leaving a lot of room for imagination. So, I walked into the movie theater with my mind completely open.

The beginning of the movie felt like any other 1950s film with the classic stereotype of husbands working a 9-to-5 job and the wives staying at home taking care of their kids, cleaning the house and cooking dinner. All these women know that they live a simple life, with only a handful of rules. First, don’t question where your husband works, and second, don’t leave Victory, the simulation-type world in the film. The setting felt pretty calm and peaceful since the film took place in an average day in Alice’s, played by Florence Pugh, and Jack’s, played by Harry Styles, lives. However, that’s when Alice’s life started to take a turn for the worse.

Saying that this movie was entertaining would be an understatement. Objectively good, though? I’m not sure. I didn’t find myself growing bored, but I was confused. The entire time I was on the edge of my seat, either terrified of the occasional flashbacks of creepy dancers Alice was facing, or intrigued about what would happen next.

Alice begins to question the reality of Victory when she tries to make deviled eggs for a party and realizes that the eggs in the carton were fake. When she tries to crack them the shells come up empty, feeding into her doubts about the true motives of the place where Jack “works.” The movie continues to spiral as Alice starts hallucinating horrible incidents, from being suffocated in Saran wrap, to having claustrophobic walls close in on her and her friend jumping off the roof. Since the film was from the perspective of Alice, I couldn’t tell whether these visions were real, or if she was crazy. Jack and the rest of Victory seemed to think the latter.

Furthermore, I was honestly impressed with the big twist the movie took. The slow burn of confusion as to what was happening finally unraveled as soon Frank, played by Chris Pine, confronted Alice. Frank owned Victory, but Alice had always speculated about what the company’s mission actually was. Her doubts were confirmed when we flashback to Alice and Jack’s past life before Victory, where their lives were miserable. It’s revealed that Jack, who hates his life, gave into Frank’s experiment of a virtual reality. By tying Alice down unconscious, he was able to brainwash her into the simulation, thinking that he is preserving their relationship in the long run. They live a wonderful fake life, and when Jack goes to “work,” he is actually woken up to earn a wage at a real job to cover for Victory’s hefty price tag. As soon as you discover Jack’s ulterior motives, the plot starts to unfold, and you’re left in your seat questioning the entire experience.

Now, what made this movie the most entertaining was the theatrical experience. On opening night, teenage girls, who solely wanted to see Harry Styles act in a major motion picture, packed the movie theatre. I can’t say I wasn’t one of the many, but I will say that every time Styles delivered a line, there was a guaranteed cackle from the crowd. By the scene where Jack dances on the stage for a solid 10 minutes or the flashback scenes with his long hair and American accent, the majority of the theater was in an uproar. It’s obvious that it wasn’t meant to be this way, but ultimately, Styles was the comedic relief of the film.

We all know Styles isn’t an outstanding actor, which honestly made it difficult to assess the quality of his performance. Pugh was astonishing as usual and never failed to display the itching doubts that piled on the longer she stayed in Victory. The impending question I kept asking myself was if another actor played Styles’s role, how would this movie perform? Is it a great movie, or is it just a ton of our favorite celebrities on screen together?

What confused me most was the insane backlash of this movie and the terrible ratings. 39% on Rotten Tomatoes is like comparing this movie to “The Room” directed by Tommy Wiseau, which honestly seems about right. This movie is much better than “The Room,” but in a general sense, a big reason this movie was entertaining was because you were laughing at parts that weren’t meant to be funny.

Overall, this movie was chaotic, surprisingly intriguing and a rollercoaster from beginning to end. As someone who loves predicting the end of movies, the twist and turns of “Don’t Worry Darling” came as a complete surprise. Although the film is R-rated, I found that as long as you’re okay with the occasional gore, it was otherwise pretty viewer-friendly. Even if you’re not a fan of the psychological horror this movie entails, I would recommend watching it for the sole purpose of the once in a lifetime experience in the theater.